NewsLocal News


Kids catch, raise and show off their steers at the National Western Stock Show's Catch-A-Calf event

16-year-old Blair Sanchez's steer, Tyson, took home the top prize at the market for the Stock Show's Catch-A-Calf event.
Posted at 2:10 PM, Jan 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-13 19:25:09-05

DENVER — Catch it, care for it and raise it — that's the philosophy of the Catch-a-Calf contest at the National Western Stock Show.

Forty children from four Western states participated in the event that goes back more than 80 years. The cattle are released onto the Denver Coliseum floor, where boys and girls between 12 and 14 wrangle and capture a calf that they will be responsible for until next year.

The calves are then presented at the Junior Livestock Auction, where a winner is crowned. This year, 16-year-old Blair Sanchez's calf, Tyson, took home the top prize.

The kids will raise their calves for the next nine months, writing monthly sponsor letters, keeping accurate records and taking them to shows and community events. For many of the kids, it's a family legacy event.

This year, 14-year-old Caden Rhoades will be catching a calf, two years after his sister Claudia participated in the event during the COVID years.

"It's kind of like living vicariously through him, so I'm excited to watch him catch a steer," said Claudia.

Rhoades says he's grateful to have his older sister in his corner showing him the ropes.

Kids catch, raise and show off their steers at the National Western Stock Show's Catch-A-Calf event

Claudia didn't have to catch her calf, instead, since she participated in the pandemic, her name was drawn out of a hat after applicants were narrowed down.

Next January, Rhoades and the other children will bring their market-ready steers back to the Stock Show for the opening weekend. They will turn in their record book, give a speech, interview, show and sell their steers.

The contestants with the top two steers will participate in next year's Junior Livestock Auction. Half of the money from the sale of the steers is divided between all of the kids who complete the program, with money going to college, savings, or a steer for next year's project.

"I'm excited but also nervous, it's a good place to meet new people, people who know more about the industry than myself," said Rhoades. "I'm just kind of taking it all in.”

D7 follow up bar 2460x400FINAL.png
The Follow Up
What do you want Denver7 to follow up on? Is there a story, topic or issue you want us to revisit? Let us know with the contact form below.